Baseball Starts Off With a Hot Streak

Reported by Hannah Lee

Photographed by Jessica Holder

With their fourth consecutive win, George Fox University’s (GFU) baseball team is off to a great start this year. They have already won 14 games this season, compared to the two wins this time last year.

While these triumphs can be attributed to hard work and competitive attitudes, both players and coaches believe the main cause is the closeness of the team. Regarding this season, Head Coach Marty Hunter says the mechanics have not changed. The 2016-17 season may have had a rough start, but by midseason, the team was playing fairly well. Hunter believes last year’s success has motivated the team to work harder, and it shows in the scores.

On Mar. 4, the Bruins beat Pacific University’s Boxers 8-4. Their zeal was unmistakable in the competition they showed, but the Bruins are not just focused on winning. Hunter says the statistics are not the main goal; the relationships and stories of being in such a unified community are going to be what the team remembers down the road.

Players Matt Voelzke and Kyler Brudwick agreed, attributing this year’s success not just to effort but to the team’s unity.

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“We’re not just a team; we’re truly a family,” said Voelzke. He explained how the turning point in last season’s success pushed into this season. Brudwick agreed, saying the team’s bond grows each week; he said the variety of age, experience and majors plays into this alliance. “We all have an identity outside of baseball that represents who we are as a whole,” he said.

While this season has been full of wins, the team has experienced loss and knows how to work through it.

“You have to be resilient,” Hunter said. He encourages the team to learn from the past without worrying about it and tries to focus them on the present. His reaction to loss is simultaneously optimistic and realistic.

“Crap happens,” Hunter said. “You have to handle it and keep plowing forward.” Voelzke and Brudwick share the same mindset. “Baseball is a game of failure,” Brudwick said. They try to accept failure as part of the process, and the team’s closeness does not change with
the score.

“Baseball is about becoming a better person,” Hunter said as he reflected on his years coaching and playing. He has seen both his team and himself grow not only in skill but in resilience. Baseball is an uncontrollable sport, and he sees the team’s previous losses as drive to improve.